Hawaiʻi's Third Active Volcano
Photograph by J. Kauahikaua on December 30, 1996.
Hualālai is the third youngest and third-most historically active volcano on the Island of Hawaiʻi. Six different vents erupted lava between the late 1700s and 1801, two of which generated lava flows that poured into the sea on the west coast of the island. The Keahole Airport, located only 11 km north of Kailua-Kona, is built atop the larger flow.
Though Hualālai is not nearly as active as Mauna Loa or Kīlauea, our recent geologic mapping of the volcano shows that 80 percent of Hualālai's surface has been covered by lava flows in the past 5,000 years. In the past few decades, when most of the resorts, homes, and commercial buildings were built on the flanks of Hualālai, earthquake activity beneath the volcano has been low. In 1929, however, an intense swarm of earthquakes lasting more than a month was most likely caused by magma rising to near the surface. For these reasons, Hualālai is considered a potentially dangerous volcano that is likely to erupt again.
Island of Hawaiʻi
19.69 N 155.87 W
Elev. Above Sea Level
(7.2% of Hawaii)
Most Recent Eruption(s)
1800 and 1801 A.D.
Number of Historical Eruptions (since 1790 A.D.)
One, possibly two (six different vents active)
Oldest Dated Rocks
About 128,000 years before present
Estimated Age of Hualālai
Apparently grew above sea level before 300,000 years ago
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13 May, 2015 (pnf)